Family Of Gravely Ill Coronavirus Patient In SGH Appeals For Blood Plasma From Recovered Patients
His condition did not improve after the treatment and now, his family is in desperate need of help.
His lungs are failing, he’s hooked up to a ventilator, and his family is desperate for help.
With no recent travel history to Covid-19 affected countries or contact with coronavirus patients, 70-year-old Singaporean Chung Ah Lay wasn’t considered to be at high risk of contracting the virus.
When his high fever didn’t subside two days after seeing a general practitioner on Feb 27, however, Chung’s family rushed him to Singapore General Hospital’s emergency department.
“He was struggling to breathe and his limbs were trembling when we took him to hospital,” his daughter Ashley Chung, 43, told Lianhe Wanbao.
The elderly man, who has other conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension, was subsequently isolated and warded. But his condition did not improve after treatment.
He tested positive for Covid-19 on March 2 and was immediately warded in the intensive care unit.
There, he needs a ventilator to help him breathe.
Now, the father-of-three is gravely ill and his family is hoping that plasma therapy will save him.
In a public plea on Facebook, Ms Chung appealed for the 79 people who have recovered from coronavirus infection to donate their blood.
Hospitals in China have started to treat critically ill patients with plasma extracted from the blood of recovered patients, but Singapore has yet to do so.
While local authorities are exploring the possibility of treating coronavirus patients with plasma infusions, not all recovered patients would be considered suitable blood donors.
“Not every recovered patient will develop sufficiently high levels of Covid-19 antibodies, so donors will need to have their Covid-19 antibodies level determined,” Ministry of Health’s chief health scientist Professor Tan Chorh Chuan told The Straits Times.
Further tests would also be required to make sure that the blood does not contain the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B or C virus among others, he added.
As for the response to her Facebook post, Ms Chung told AsiaOne: “There are donors who are willing to come forward to partake in the trial. However, they do not know how they can go about doing it.”
And as the National Centre of Infectious Diseases is now currently working with Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the Health Sciences Authority on voluntary donor recruitment for recovered patients to donate blood, she said, “We hope to have a contact point for this recruitment drive so interested parties can have a better idea of how to proceed.”
“I know that plasma therapy is not officially here yet, but if my dad is on his last breath, it would be good to have the option for him to receive the treatment on compassionate grounds,” she added.
Her family also hopes that this will shine a spotlight on the donor recruitment drive, which may help other critically ill patients who might need the treatment.
According to the Ministry of Health, there are seven Covid-19 patients in critical condition as of March 5.
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